Taliban suicide attackers hit Afghan Parliament

Kabul: Heavily-armed Taliban suicide attackers today struck Afghanistan capital Kabul, with several explosions and gunfire rocking the diplomatic enclave as the militants took over a hotel and tried to enter parliament. The militants attacked five-star Kabul Star Hotel in Wazir Akhbar Khan area of the capital and some tried to enter the Afghan parliament but were engaged by security forces and driven back, officials said.

The hotel is located close to American embassy, ISAF`s headquarters, Turkish embassy, presidential palace, Iranian embassy and different other diplomatic offices. Eyewitness said the militants were armed with heavy weapons, and they fired in different areas nearby. According to the eyewitness, suicide bombers had taken over the newly-built hotel, which was reportedly on fire. The area was sealed off by security forces.

The casualties are still not known, but the gunfire continues between Afghan forces and the Taliban militants. Gunfire and explosions were reported from at least three areas of the capital, including the diplomatic enclave. Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks. In a text message to the reporters, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said: "Today, afternoon, at 1 pm, suicide bombings are happening by our Mujaheddeen at the ISAF headquarters, Parliament building, and other diplomatic offices in Kabul, and our enemies got many casualties."

"Our mujahidin are equipped with small and heavy weapons and also suicide vests," Mujahed said, adding "this attack was planned very well. Mujahidin attacked Afghanistan Parliament compound and still the fighting is going on and we don`t have casualties reports until now," the Taliban spokesman said. The attackers also fired rockets at the parliament building and at the Russian embassy, officials said. The embassies were not immediately available to comment.

"I am on the spot and hearing the gunfire being traded between the suicide bombers and Afghan forces. Until now I heard several explosions," according to PTI correspondent in Kabul. Several people are feared dead and wounded. Meanwhile, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates to Jalalabad airport in eastern city of Nangarhar province, wounding several people, police said. Four bombers tried to enter the airport and two detonated their explosives when they were stopped at the gate, officials said. Two others were wounded and arrested.

Taliban militants also attacked ISAF`s Provincial Reconstruction Team, Or PRT, in Jalalabad. "The battle is going on," Tolo tv said. "In Jalalabad, several mujahidin attacked airport and PRT compound. The fighting is going on and our mujahidin are showing very strong resistance," the Taliban spokesman said. In Logar province, Taliban militants attacked a police compound, PRT Compound and provincial Intelligence Department.

In Paktia province also, Taliban attacked police Regional Zone Compound, airport, police headquarters and Intelligence Department. "The fighting is going on in all the provinces," Mujahed said. According the reports, Taliban also attacked Military Academy Compound in Jalalabad road, District No 9 of Kabul. Eyewitnesses said still there are shooting around the Academy.